God has indeed promised to hear and answer prayer, but he obviously does not grant our every request.
He has many good reasons for this and we explored some of them together at mid-week study during the month on February 2014.
Outlines are available below:
When God says, “No…” maybe we need to have greater faith
Jesus assured his disciples that faith-filled prayers will be answered by God (Mark 11:20-24).
James identified a lack of faith as something that essentially guarantees a “No” from God (James 1:5-7).
1. What is faith? How might we define it as it applies to prayer?
2. What are some of the reasons for our doubting in prayer?
3. What might it sound like to pray with greater faith?
When God says, “No…” maybe we need to repent of some sin
Secret sins of the heart can result in an experiential “No” from God: Psalm 66:18
Outward sins that disrupt relationships can also result in an unmistakable “No” from God: James 4:1-3
1. How exactly does sin affect a believer’s relationship with God?
2. Why do we choose the fleeting pleasures of sin over unhindered fellowship with God?
3. How can we purify our hearts and relationships more faithfully?
When God says, “No…” maybe we need to wait patiently
Noah waited 120 years, the Hebrew slaves waited 400 years, and Abraham died waiting for God to fulfill his promises.
During such times, the saints are called upon simply to rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him (Psalm 37:7).
1. “God’s timing is always perfect.” That saying is true, but is it truly that helpful?
2. Why does the psalmist bring up the wicked when counseling us to wait upon God?
3. How can we cultivate patience and hope in this culture of constant immediate gratification?
When God says, “No…” maybe we need to be content with grace
Paul earnestly pleaded with God to remove an unspecified affliction from his life (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
God said “No” and explained that this affliction served greater gospel purposes.
1. Consider the source of Paul’s particular affliction. Does Satan continue to afflict Christians today?
2. What was the purpose of Paul’s affliction from Satan’s perspective and God’s perspective?
3. How can each of us cultivate a deeper contentment with God’s grace?